View Idea

Title:
LGV Sideguard Legislation

Reference ID:
123J

Department Responsible:
Department for Transport

Problem Description:
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency notified FTA earlier this year that it plans to change its approach to test requirements linked to the fitment of sideguards. In 2000, VOSA advised that vehicles with sideguards of an incorrect dimension should not be failed at annual test. However, it has also become apparent that sideguards have been manufactured on some vehicles that do not comply with legislation, due to sections not being present where they are required. This situation was not anticipated when the decision to relax enforcement on sideguards at annual test was relaxed and has resulted in non-compliant vehicles passing at annual test. Due to the number of non-compliant vehicles encountered which have part of a sideguard missing where it is a legal requirement, VOSA have announced that from 1 April 2008 such vehicles will be failed. FTA believes that the proposals for VOSA testing staff to require fully compliant sideguards to be present when required create practical and safety issues for new and existing vehicles. A one size fits all approach, for example to minimum top sideguard rail height, is inappropriate, and creates additional safety hazards as well as significant modification costs for existing vehicles. Having tacitly accepted the sideguard configuration on existing vehicles by passing affected vehicles at annual test, FTA believes that unless there are clear safety implications from missing pieces of sideguard on individual vehicles, these vehicles should not be required to undergo remedial engineering work to have their sideguard configuration changed.

In the case of vehicles equipped with cranes behind the cab, safety issues linked to access to the crane platform, access to crane handling controls and emergency stop systems need to be taken into account. The cranes arc must not be obstructed during lifting operations and the crane must be able to be stowed safely in its folded position when the vehicle is moving. These requirements can only be met if the top sideguard is detachable – either through a hinge mechanism or through a lift off section of sideguard rail. Both solutions present additional safety risks compared to existing sideguard rail configurations where the top rail is not present. These are as follows:

1. Hinged sideguard The sideguard could either be hinged up or hinged horizontally . When the lorry mounted crane is in use, the vehicle body will move and flex. Triggered by the movement, a hinge-up sideguard could potentially collapse from its upright position onto the driver when securing bolts either fail or are not applied correctly.

A sideguard hinged horizontally presents a risk to pedestrians or other road users whilst the lorry mounted crane is in operation.

2. Lift off/ on sideguard rail Additional risks for the driver are associated with physically lifting off a heavy segment of sideguard linked to accidental injury and strain injury. A risk to other road users and pedestrians is created while the sideguard is on the ground and not in use. This includes a trip hazard and a hazard for moving vehicles.

For both a hinged and a lift on/off sideguard rail, a further risk for other road users is created when the vehicle is in motion and the sideguard is not securely attached (either through component failure, damage to the sideguard whilst on the ground, or incorrect securing)

Additional pieces of sideguard or sideguard modifications may not be carried out by professional body manufacturers. More likely it will be service agents and maintenance providers that will be asked to undertake changes. FTA is concerned at the lack of knowledge of the sideguard requirements amongst this community. Sideguard adaptations may not be fit for purpose in terms of the 2 kilonewton strength requirement set out in the Construction and Use Regulations 1986, even though dimensional requirements are met. VOSA’s testers manual does not include a requirement on the material used in the sideguard. Nor is the strength requirement of vehicle sideguards assessed at annual test.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has not undertaken any impact assessment on the cost of operators complying with the more stringent enforcement regime. Nor has any estimate been made of any net impact on Workplace Transport Safety accidents and road accident casualties. Whilst this is not a new piece of legislation and therefore does not automatically require a Regulatory Impact Assessment, the fact the DfT has made no attempt to quantify the effect of the change in enforcement (particularly for existing vehicles) is very disappointing.

Industry costs

FTA has undertaken a survey of the four main builders merchant sector operators. Together, they operate around 2, 770 vehicles which are affected. The companies report that the cost per vehicle in order to comply with the change in enforcement policy ranges between £500 and £750. This equates to a cost of between £1.4m to 2.0m for these four operators.

Overall, FTA estimates that there are approximately 25,000 vehicles equipped with lorry mounted cranes in the UK. Assuming that half of these are attached to vehicles such as tippers that are excluded from sideguard requirements and a further quarter are rear mounted cranes, the overall cost impact on operators with lorry mounted cranes is between £3.1 million and £4.7 million.

Road safety and workplace transport safety implications

DfT’s Road Accident Statistics Great Britain 2006 sets out vehicle casualty by contributory factor and accident severity (table 4b). However, no figures are collated on fatal or injury road traffic accidents where defective or missing pieces of sideguard are a contributory factor either to the accident or the severity of the accident.

VOSA’s current approach to sideguard enforcement was established in 2000, before which the dimensions of sideguards and the existence of all sideguard sections were enforced more rigorously. Between 2000 and 2006 fatal and injury accidents involving hgv’s have fallen steadily. Indeed the rate of fall has been more rapid than when sideguard requirements were enforced more strictly.

Average % annual change in accident rate involving hgvs
Period Fatal Fatal and serious All injury and fatal
1996 - 2000 -3.2 -2.1 +1.0
2000 - 2006 -3.3 -5.9 -4.6

Source: Road Casualties Great Britain 2006

A similar picture of falling numbers of incidents is evident when accidients involving hgv’s and vulnerable road users in urban areas is considered.

Injury of fatal accidents in involving road user group and hgvs
2001 2006 % change
Pedestrians 720 388 - 46%
Pedal cycles 504 314 -37%
Mopeds 68 32 -53%
Motorcycles 433 168 -61%

Source: Road Casualties Great Britain 2001, 2006

Proposed solution:
FTA is a trade association who represent members.

FTA believes that the guiding principle to the fitment of sideguards should be measures that are ‘reasonably practicable’, particularly in relation to tankers and vehicles equipped with lorry mounted cranes. This principle is set out in Section 51, paragraph 6(c) of the Construction and Use Regulations 1986, and has been applied by bodybuilders and lorry mounted crane suppliers.

Compliance of vehicles falling in scope of vehicle sideguard requirements should be assessed on a vehicle by vehicle basis bearing in mind safety issues relating to the driver, other road users and pedestrians.

FTA accepts the general principle that the top height of the sideguard should be at the same height as the body floor or at a minimum of 950mm above ground level. However, this requirement should only be applied to vehicles within scope of the sideguard requirements, where the requirement is practicable and safe.

Operators and bodybuilders should continue to have the flexibility to apply a test of what is ‘reasonably practicable’ to sideguard requirements on new and existing vehicles with tanker bodies and lorry mounted cranes located immediately behind the cab.

VOSA, HSE and industry need to agree what is reasonably practicable for new and existing vehicles. Industry is willing to host a demonstration of vehicle body types to enable jointly agreed guidelines which are acceptable from a road safety, workplace transport safety and operational practicality point of view.

FTA believe that the legislation and tougher enforcement by VOSA at annual test should only apply to new vehicles from the proposed date of 1st April 2008, and should not apply to vehicles which have past annual test previously as the side guards on these vehicles have been accepted and statistically had any impact on road traffic accidents. New vehicles should be assessed on a vehicle by vehicle basis taking into account what is considered to be reasonably practicable, and possibly an exemption from the legislation for crane vehicles and tankers where full compliance to the regulations cannot be achieved.

Cost or time incurred:
FTA is a trade association who represent members.


FTA has undertaken a survey of the four main builders merchant sector operators. Together, they operate around 2, 770 vehicles which are affected. The companies report that the cost per vehicle in order to comply with the change in enforcement policy ranges between £500 and £750. This equates to a cost of between £1.4m to 2.0m for these four operators.

Overall, FTA estimates that there are approximately 25,000 vehicles equipped with lorry mounted cranes in the UK. Assuming that half of these are attached to vehicles such as tippers that are excluded from sideguard requirements and a further quarter are rear mounted cranes, the overall cost impact on operators with lorry mounted cranes is between £3.1 million and £4.7 million.

Department:
Department for Transport

Sector(s):
Private Sector

Category(s):
Transport and infrastructure


Idea - the journey

What's happened so far?
This idea was logged on 12/12/07

What's happening right now?
This idea was rejected. See below for an official response.

What can I expect to happen?
This idea is closed.




Official response

This idea or suggestion has been responded to by alternative means direct by the Department for Transport.